How To Submit Your Sitemap Through Google's API
August 16, 2021
Submitting your sitemap to Google seems unnecessary; after all, doesn’t Google crawl it automatically? But if you want quick results, you’ll have to manually tell Google what to do.
Google makes it really simple to upload a sitemap through Google’s API using their Search Console (though it may look intimidating at first). Not only will you have access to tons of data, but you’ll also give Google an automated roadmap of what’s most important on your site.
Most people don’t take the time to manually submit their sitemap to Google. They ignore it at their peril though, since leaving an unaltered sitemap for Google to crawl means you’re at the mercy of their crawlers to determine what is and isn’t important on your site. If you have several hundred (or thousand) pages on your site though, that can be a mess. Inevitably, they’ll ignore pages that you feel should be indexed first.
Best of all, Google wants you to use their API service. They have specific instructions that will not only guide you through it, but also condense the data you need to see so that it’s readily accessible. That, mixed with our own trial-and-errors, is where we get the bulk of this material. Learn from our experience and use Google’s API to push ahead of the competition.
What is a Sitemap?
Sitemaps are critical to search engine optimization and how your website is crawled & indexed by search engines like Google. Creating a sitemap file on your website will help guide these robots in the limited amount of time they’re allotted to scan your content.
If your website is fairly large, the crawl and index process may be wasted on pages that you necessarily do not wish to be recognized. If your site contains a lot of rich content – such as videos and images - then a sitemap would prove beneficial. Think of your website as a library - the more books, or files, the greater the need for a librarian. The librarian is your sitemap, organizing the files in a way that tells visitors (Google bots) where the best books are (the top-sellers).
Why Do I Need a Sitemap?
Creating a sitemap for users and robots to view on your site is a great strategy to organize your website. What’s even better is submitting your sitemap directly to Google. Most content management systems and web development software automatically submits your pages and content.
That fails to show you such detailed data like Google Search Console will. Gaining additional insight for your websites performance and structure is essential to ongoing search engine optimization efforts. When you want to rank higher on Google, using Google tools is a free and beneficial way to stay ahead of the competition. It’s simple: Utilizing Google My Business is a great tool as a webmaster – and here’s why.
Why Should I Submit Through Google’s API?
Google’s API is a feature available on Google Search Console. Submitting your website to Google Search Console comes with an array of benefits from measuring your site’s performance to monitoring your website’s user experience. Keeping up with what Google bots crawl and index is totally available to you.
As a webmaster, the more you guide search engine bots the better they – and ultimately the user – understand your content. Google periodically scans for updates and changes on your website, but this could take more time than you want. Search engine optimization generally takes time to start producing ranking results. Submitting your sitemap through Google’s API on Search Console sends a request to Google signaling that your updated content is ready to be crawled and indexed. Google’s bots work nonstop around the clock crawling millions of websites across the world. Submitting a sitemap directly to Google greatly increases the time it takes to reading your content, and updating sitemaps manually gives webmasters greater control over the process.
Submitting your sitemap through Google Search Console is a manual task. You’ll have more confidence and assurance that your site is being crawled and indexed properly. When wishing to rank well on Google, the most critical step is ensuring your content is being read. If you have content that you wish Google not to crawl and is not best for user experience, you can add a “no-follow tag”. Irrelevant or repeated information that has to stay falls into this category.
Checking your current sitemap structure through your web browser can help quickly view what is currently being crawled & indexed. Go to your web browser’s URL bar and type in your website followed by “sitemap.xml”. This will generate a list of what is being crawled. This is the fastest way to know what Google is seeing and when the data was last modified.
How to Submit Your Sitemap Through Google’s API
The process of submitting your sitemap through Google’s API is relatively straightforward. First, sign in to your Google account (if you have one; if not, sign up for one). Then, head to the Google Search Console and click “start now” to set up the integration.
From there, you’ll want to add a website property. Choose the domain verification option (for all URLs) by entering your website URL and click continue. Ensure the drop down selects your website hosting company; if so, select “start verification” and you’ll be taken to your web hosting company’s website. Follow the instructions after to connect Google’s API and Search Console.
Now that your website is verified within the Google Search Console, click on the left menu and choose “sitemaps.” Enter the phrase “sitemap.xml” and click the big blue “submit” button.
What Happens After Submitting a Sitemap?
After entering your sitemap.xml in Google Search Console, verify that it worked by checking the submitted sitemap’s table. It will include the date submitted, when it was last read, the status and discovered URLs.
The dates will usually line up on the same day. The Google Search Console is fast and updates information on submitted sitemaps in a timely manner (almost instantaneously). If a sitemap is not properly set up on your website, a status stating “couldn’t fetch data” will appear. When it is good to go, it will say “success” and display how many pages were discovered.
Once you become familiar with submitting URLs for review to Google Search Console, it can become a habit to jump over to it every time you update a post or make a change on a page. This isn’t a bad thing, as Google Search Console has many other features to track your website’s performance regarding visitors, popular queries and URL inspections.
The Different Types of Sitemaps
There are a few main things that Google looks at regarding your website’s sitemap. These files layout the overall structure of your site by breaking down the most critical areas.
The page sitemap lists all the pages on your website from the home page to the about us page. You can request a crawl & index of just the pages by entering page.sitemap.xml. Depending on your business and conversion factors relating to your specific website, pages are an essential ranking factor. They include services, products and information – the most important elements of your website.
The post sitemap lists all of your blog posts based on what you select as your post’s page when building your website. When you create a new article, you can update the post sitemap by entering post-sitemap.xml.
The category and post sitemaps are related to your blog posts. When you create one, you can choose tags and categories that organize your articles and communicates with Google what they are about. It is best to simply enter sitemap.xml when updating content so Google checks your entire website for new data.
Using WordPress or Wix for Your Sitemap
If your website was developed with WordPress or Wix, you can still manually submit your sitemap directly to Google. Wix automatically submits your sitemap periodically. WordPress allows integration through search engine optimization plug-ins such as Yoast SEO.
No matter your website development software of choice, manually submitting your sitemap is good practice. WordPress and Wix integrate with Google Search Console and allow you to track performance, sitemap status, mobile usability rankings, core web vitals, page experience and traffic trends, among other notable features. It acts as a central nervous system to your website’s performance, allowing you to see all the vital stats and information about your website from the only entity that has all the data in the first place -- Google.
As a webmaster, sitemaps are a critical component to your search engine optimization efforts. Submitting the sitemap manually and not depending on the auto feature of your chosen development platform allows more freedom and hands-on control, which is extremely important considering the competitive nature of digital marketing. The more information and data that is added and revised on your website, the more it will require proper monitoring and communication to search engines. Stay on top of it, and the top of the search engine results await.
About THE AUTHOR
After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts, spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.Learn more about SparrowBoost